Scouting Austin Voth

Voth

Photo by Joshua Bessex

Pitcher name: Austin Voth, RHP

Height: 6’1’’

Weight: 209

Draft status: Junior, draft eligible

School: University of Washington

Seen: March 1, 2013, against Cal Poly

Austin Voth (pronounced like ‘both’) is the Friday starter for the University of Washington. The junior right-hander worked off and on as a starter for the Huskies during his first two years on campus, but he’s emerged as the ace of the staff in Seattle after a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. He’s off to a good start in the new campaign, having struck out 28 hitters in 20 innings, while walking just 4. Baseball America ranked Voth the 14th best draft eligible prospect in their Pac-12 season preview last month, making him the highest Husky on their list. Continue reading

Can Jason Giambi Contribute to the Indians?

ImageWe’re only a few weeks into Spring Training and we’ve already hit all the highlights we’ve come to associate with baseball in February and March. Writers are waxing poetic about baseball and rebirth, players are in the best shape of their lives, and perennially hapless teams are optimistic about the impending campaign. All the while, a creaky veteran or two tries to convince management that they can coax one more year out of their beat up body.

One such player is Jason Giambi. The forty-two year old, fresh off of a bizarre offseason that nearly saw him hang up his spikes to manage the Colorado Rockies, is trying to latch on as a part time DH with Cleveland. And with this being Spring Training, everybody has pleasant things to say about the experiment. In the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Paul Hoynes quoted Terry Francona saying that Giambi “is everything you want in a ballplayer” and that he’s “the veteran of veterans.” Giambi for his part seems willing to embrace his role as clubhouse papa: “When I broke in… Mark McGwire, Terry Steinbach, and Dennis Eckersley… really helped me through my learning curve. I’d like to do that here.” All in all, Giambi comes across as a man in peace with his place in the game and content with the fact that his career is nearing its end. Continue reading

The Gates Brown Hot Dog Story

GatesBrown

One of my favorite baseball books is Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Legends. In it, Neyer examines some of baseball’s urban legends, re-telling dozens of the sport’s biggest whoppers and then examining their validity. It’s a bit of a bummer that most of them wind up being false or inaccurate, but the tales are generally amusing, the process is impressively thorough, and it’s an entertaining read throughout. Neyer and Bill James call these types of stories ‘tracers’ and with a nod to the two of them, I thought it might be fun to try my hand at tackling a tracer myself.

Today, we’ll examine a story about Gates Brown. Brown is a notable part of baseball history for three reasons. Infamously, he will be remembered as one of two prominent Tigers who were signed out of prison in the 1960’s and 70’s (Ron LeFlore was the other). On a happier note, Tiger fans remember him fondly for his pinch-hitting exploits as a member of the club, particularly during their run to the World Series in 1968. That season, Brown hit a preposterous .455/.538/.818 with three home runs in fifty-two plate appearances off the bench, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest pinch hitters of all time. Continue reading